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NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE: DOES D.I.Y // BAR CART OF DREAMS

Since we moved back from Berlin, we’ve lived a more minimalist life. Afterall, our entire worldly belongings were put into a storage shipping container – we had NOTHING in Berlin as we lived in a holiday let – didn’t have our own bedding, cutlery, prints, books,  NOTHING. Which was weird whilst we lived out there… but when we moved back, we soon realised just how much STUFF we had and really didn’t need. We’ve sold a lot on selling sites etc, but we’ve donated just as much to charity too; which always feels good.

One of the item’s we did use was our drink’s cabinet – a Danish, Midcentury thing of beauty. But it just felt like this big old cabinet was too much now we were scaling down – it felt like it was overwhelming the room. (We did also use it for Eli’s Art & Crafts/School gear too, it wasn’t JUST a drinks cabinet! hah). So it was a begrudgingly out with the old… in with the D I Y! DIY you say?! Why? Well, scroll and see…

I’ve always been in love with gold and marble bar carts – you know, the antique 20’s type – cemented with stays at Soho House group (DREAM household interior btw). But these gold and marble carts come with a pretty price tag too. See below the kind of vibe I had as inspiration:

 

// BAMBOO DRINKS TROLLEY – OLIVER BONAS – £395

        
// ROUND DRINKS TROLLEY – GRAHAM & GREEN £315

  
// TERRACE BAR CART – WEST ELM – £349

As you can see, most bar carts are around the £300 mark, ouch! So I thought, why not live by the motto, ‘Fake it, till you make it!’ and make your own! So that’s what I did! See my step-by-step below of how I got my own Bar Cart of Dreams.

WHAT I USED:
IKEA – SUNNERSTA Trolley – £18
x1 D-C-Fix Marble Effect Adhesive – £6.50 per roll
x2 RUST-OLEUM Gold Spray Paint 400ml – Bright Gold – £8.75 per can
x1 Premium ‘Any surface’ tester pot – Black – £1.25 per pot

EQUIPMENT:
Scissors / Stanley knife
Pencil
Ruler
Tea towel

TOTAL COST: £53.25

    

  

    

 

HINTS & TIPS

  • Use spray paint in a well ventilated space. Not only because of the obvious issues with inhalation, but also the dust from the spray paint goes EVERYWHERE. Alternatively, use a traditional paint and paint brush to avoid dust settling.
  • You’ll need to do around 2 coats of paint – so just go at it finely at first, you can always cover up any bare bits!
  • Allow the paint to thoroughly dry – at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.
  • Take your time with the adhesive paper, lots of bubbles form as you’re applying – these can be popped with a pin afterward, or just use a towel to roll as you go.

So there you have it – my bar cart of dreams! This would obviously also work well as a cart for bath linen / lotions & potions or even just as a display trolley.

#DIYLikeAMum

Cheers!

Cx

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CUSTOMER SERVICE | Kiddicare, Lakeside.

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I just HAD to write a blog post on the customer service we received on a recent trip to Kiddicare, Lakeside.

So let’s start at the beginning…

We decided that we REALLY, REALLY needed to get Eli is new car seat after massively outgrowing his old one a little while ago. The weather was pretty bleak on our journey to Kiddicare, so when we arrived and were greeted with (Starbucks) hot chocolate at the door, it was more than welcome! Such a nice touch.

We headed straight over the to vast car seat section of the superstore. A friend of ours had recommended the Maxi Cosi, Axiss car seat – but it had been priced at £225 previously on Amazon, so we had disregarded that one.

As fans of Maxi Cosi however, we started looking at cheaper models. We found a great one for £120… but it didn’t swivel. After struggling with our old car seat and pulling our necks/backs trying to get Eli into the damn thing without banging his head in the process, I wanted one that swivelled! So we looked at the Maxi Cosi Axiss anyway – it was priced at £160 in Kiddicare. Quite a saving! We checked out how much it would be on Amazon, and couldn’t believe the price had dropped to £113!!! Even better. We couldn’t believe it. We went to the Car Seat fitting desk to ask some questions about this model. They told us that this particular car seat only fits 20% of cars; and they test each car seat fits your car, for you. We thought this was a great service.

I mentioned the price difference… and then noticed that they had signs around the store that said “Price Match Guarantee”. I, cheekily, thought I’d ask the lady at the front desk if they would indeed price match with the Amazon price. She was so lovely and said that yes, indeed they would! As long as the item on Amazon was sold by Amazon, and not a private seller. We ACTUALLY couldn’t believe it.

So then we had the car seat fitted into our car – it was pouring down at this point and the two lovely assistants had smiles on their faces and nothing but positivity about them. The car seat fitted like a glove! Again, we couldn’t believe it.  Out of 20% of cars! PERFECT – LET’S BUY IT! We got to the car seat desk again to have our receipt for collection printed out. The car seat we’d ordered was the LAST ONE IN STOCK. Unbelievable.

So with that, we dashed to the till to pay. The lady at the till, again, was so lovely and polite. It makes such a difference to have a smile and a ‘hello’, doesn’t it? Another assistant sorted out the price match while some other items were put through the till for us. They then said, “So the car seat will be £99 today, is that ok?”. EXCUSE ME WHAT? WHO THE WHAT NOW?

This is where it gets RIDICULOUS. When Kiddicare do a price match, not only do they match that price – but they then extend the discount to a further 25%. How amazing is that? The car seat that we really wanted, that was £225 RRP was just sold to us for more than half the price! We felt like we’d committed a crime as we walked out the doors, with the same lovely assistant who had tested the car seat.

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She again fitted the car seat for us, for the drive home. She showed us how everything worked. All this in the pouring rain! Then she took the card board box away to recycle for us. So polite and patient, she didn’t rush or cut any corners. Just simple good manners and being good at her job. She strived to go the extra mile to make sure we were comfortable and confident with the car seat. You REALLY don’t get service like we received anywhere (apart from maybe John Lewis), and that’s such a great shame.

We can’t thank Kiddicare Lakeside, enough for their help that day – or the huge saving! It meant that we could have our first date night in a very long time 🙂 So there you go, always head to your local Kiddicare store or shop online at Kiddicare.com and get a price match where you can. We’re certainly customers for LIFE.

MM.

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Warning: May induce hysterical tears. (Or maybe that’s just me then!)

While watching the Britain’s Got Talent – Final last night an advert came on that reduced me to hysterical “I can’t breathe” tears. I got emotional at adverts before my pregnancy, but now it’s an absolute extreme set of events. Horrendous. Not only did I sob my heart out at the entire advert, not even knowing what the advert was even advertising, it got to the end and I couldn’t breathe when I found out it was for Volkswagen Polo. OUR CAR! Cue more intense hysterical sobbing.

The advert is tells the story of a very protective Dad, through the years of his lovely daughter growing up. Then handing out a brand spanking new Volkswagen Polo to her as she drives off to university… more crying ensues (on my part).

If you think you’re tough enough to watch this advert, click the play button below! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

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Hospital Update: Meeting the Consultant and measuring 34 weeks at 28 weeks.

My favourite image of our Baby Boy so far! Taken at 20 weeks, UCLH. 20th March 2012.

Yesterday morning we drove up to Broomfield Hospital for another appointment with our Consultant; to discuss the findings from our last scan –The Bilateral Talipes. But our actual consultant was stuck on the M25 (of course), so we saw someone else and had to go through the whole rigmarole of explaining everything that’s happened in this rollercoaster of a pregnancy!

Fast forward half an hour and I’m on the couch being measured up with a tape measure again. At my Midwife appointment, less than a week ago, my bump was measuring up at 30cm, so 30 weeks – Weekly Update: 28 weeks. So had expected it to be about the same.The two Doctors measured me again… I was measuring 34cm, so one would assume, 34 weeks! UH OH.

I was referred for an emergency scan to check out baby boy’s measurements properly, along with an index of my amniotic fluid. Had to sit around the hospital for 3 hours until the scan. MASSIVE YAWN.

Had the scan and everything was FINE. He’s measuring up at 29 weeks (of which I am 29 weeks tomorrow). He weighs about 2 and a half pounds. He couldn’t be more spot on measurements wise, he’s spot on all the ‘average measurement’ lines on the scan graph. Which is great!

Also, my amniotic fluid is showing up at 6cm at the deepest point, which again, is absolutely normal! So everything is great. I just have a lot of my own water retention and bloating..possibly because I drink far too much water. What can I say? I’m a thirsty girl!

Additionally, the Sonographer also said that we no longer need to go back to have a scan at 32 weeks. She’s more than happy with the progress of everything and doesn’t see why we should have to go back to the hospital to review baby boy’s Talipes. Which is also fine by us! We’re over the moon! But at the same time, I’m also a little bit sad that we won’t be seeing our baby boy for a little while… in fact, the next time we see him will be when he’s ARRIVED! Which to be honest, is also a little bit scary! It’s all very very very REAL now. EXCITED.

So the moral of this story is, don’t believe the measurements! It was never going to be an exact science, measuring your bump – who thought it would be?!

MM.

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Hospital Update: Baby Boy bump has (mild) Bilateral Talipes.

Wednesday 18th April: Re-scan at UCLH, Fetal Medicine Unit.

This morning we visited the Fetal Medicine Unity in UCLH (University College London Hospital) for the re-scan of baby boy bump’s feet – to confirm or exclude Talipes (Club Foot). Since my worrying Midwife appointment the other week, I’ve thought about nothing other than the results we might find at the scan today. Not about his feet though, I was thinking about everything else that it could be linked to. Yesterday the panic set in again and I started googling all sorts, which we all know, is probably the worst thing you can do – ever! Based on the, err, google search findings, I’d really worried myself about how his spine might be developing, as Talipes can be the result of other genetic disorders. This all combined with the Midwife appointment made me really really quite anxious in that waiting from this morning.

Appointment was for 9am, we arrived early, as always, at 8:30am. We went into see the FMU and Speciality Doctor who has performed our most recent scans at UCLH, at about 9:15am. Our Speciality Doctor is beyond thorough, so started off with checking the progress of the brain and heart. Then he went on to check other internal organs for size and function, making the necessary measurements and notes as he went along. (See below for measurements from this scan!) He muttered that “everything is developing beautifully”. Then he turned to the back, looking at the spine and ribcage. He pondered over the spine and I clenched onto OH’s hand. The Doctor didn’t say anything so I asked “Is his spine ok?”. He smiled and said “Of course, he’s beautifully in proportion and developing as he should be. It’s a good thing!”. PHEW. I was happy at that point 🙂

As baby boy bump has proven at every single scan, he’s a wriggler. He moves non-stop. Which is amazing! But not great when the Doctor is trying to desperately get a good view of his feet! It was at this point that he got the 4D scanning images up again – which is just incredible. It’s so amazing to see your baby’s face like that – unbelievable to be honest! But he was really wanting to get a good view of his feet… so it was a quick look at his cute-as-a-button face and then back to business.

The Doctor scanned his feet for about 15 minutes using both the 4D and 2D imaging. He then turned to us and said that he was “convinced there is a degree of Bilateral Talipes. But is extremely mild”. He then went on to discuss corrective methods and said he’d like the Consultant to take a look. The Consultant arrived and said that the Talipes was so mild that “I probably would have missed it to be honest!”.

So with all this in mind, we’re over the moon. Couldn’t be happier. We always knew this baby boy of ours would be a character, and he’s certainly that!

We”ve now been discharged from UCLH and referred back to the care of Broomfield. We will have another scan (YES!) at 32 weeks to see the progression of the Talipes. This will be our 8th scan, although these scans have not been under happy circumstances (mostly), we’re extremely grateful that we’ve been lucky enough to see our baby boy growing at every single stage. As long as the Talipes has progressed as it should (or hopefully, not at all) then we’ll remain within the care of Broomfield. We will not be treated any differently for the birth, so there is no reason for me not to have the Water Birth I’m planning! Once baba is born, we’ll obviously review the extent of the Talipes and take it from there.

Measurements at 25 weeks and 5 days.

Biparietal Diameter (BPD): 67.9 mm

Head Circumference (HC): 243.9 mm

Abdominal Circumference (AC): 213.3 mm

Nuchal Fold Thickness (NT): 5.6 mm

Nasal Bone: 7.4 mm

Femur Length: 45.5 mm

Estimated Fetal Weight (BPD, HC, AC, FL) :842 g / 1 lb 14oz

4D scan of baby boy’s face. He has my nose and chin and OH’s eyes. He’s playing hide and seek here though unfortunately! 

MM.

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Our iCandy Strawberry: Seat unit/Stroller and Carrycot.

**Quick warning, this post is quite photograph heavy**

We had looked at lots and lots and lots of reviews of travel systems, push chairs, strollers, joggers, car seats – everything! We came to the conclusion that we *needed* the iCandy Apple. No, not because we’re massive Apple fans… but because iCandy products are the most innovative, easy-on-the-eye and well received. Also, it’s quite important to us that iCandy is a British brand – we’re massive supporters of all things heritage, so this was also a key selling point for us!

Upon further investigation, we found that the iCandy Strawberry was due to be released – after much anticipation. We watched a ton of videos from trade fairs and Which, along with reviews, and decided that we now *needed* the iCandy Strawberry. We called up John Lewis dozens of times awaiting the delivery of it to the shop floor so we could look at it in real life. FINALLY, it had arrived at the Oxford Street store, so we dashed down after work to have a butchers.

We were not disappointed – but knew there was a waiting list and all products that were being delivered, were going straight to customers who had pre-ordered, months and months and months previous.

We looked at a handful of forums and spoke to iCandy stockists and found that we were likely to have a 3 month wait. So we thought, ‘sod it, let’s get it ordered’. So at just 12 weeks pregnant, we ordered the entire package from John Lewis in Stratford. We just wanted to keep it simple colour-wise, black goes with everything – and is unisex. So we ordered the seat unit (£450) and seat unit flavour pack in Assam (£75) along with carry cot (£95) and carry cot flavour pack in Assam (£75).

We were told that we’d get a phone call when everything was in stock, ready for dispatch. Personally, I thought it would be longer than the 3 month wait… judging by conversations around the amount of pre-orders and the length of time it takes to dispatch to the stockist – for the stockist to then dispatch to the customer directly. Just 3 weeks later we got a phone call saying that all items would be delivered in a further 3 days time! We couldn’t believe it.

But hey, I did say we were organised, didn’t I? 😉

So, obviously, at just 24+1 weeks pregnant, we haven’t given it a proper test drive yet. But check out the pictures. We’re chuffed with it! Will have to follow up on this post when Baby Boy actually arrives! From driving it around the house, I can confirm that it is smooth, easy to manoeuvre and quite light. The iCandy Strawberry comes with ‘memory’, meaning that it can be folded with the seat unit attached still – it will then unfold back into the same position before it was folded.

What’s in the box? iCandy Strawberry Chassis, Stroller seat unit, bumper bar, wheels, rain cover and instructions/warranty.

What’s in the box? iCandy carrycot, bumper bar, rain cover, instructions/warranty.

Carry cot attached, with bumper bar. The carry cot features the Assam flavour pack – hood and cover.

Stroller, rear facing. The stroller features the Assam flavour pack – hood and seat cover.

Stroller, front facing.

Folded, free standing, with stroller still attached.

Folded, laid flat with stroller still attached.

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We’ve also ordered the Maxi Cosi Cabriofix car seat from Amazon, which attaches to the iCandy Strawberry chassis. You need to purchase the Maxi Cosi Cabriofix adapters (£30) however!

The complete iCandy Strawberry Travel System that we purchased above came to a total of £725 from John Lewis. We still need to purchase a the Parasol (£25), which can now be purchased online at JohnLewis.com

MM.

 

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Re-Scan: Echocardiogram and Anomaly Scan at 21+4 Weeks.

Tuesday 20th March: 4D scan! Fetal Heart Echo (Echocardiogram) and 20 Week Anomaly Scan at UCLH.

This Tuesday we went back to the Fetal Medicine Unit for a repeat Echocardiogram, doubled up with our 20 week Anomaly Scan. We are absolutely chuffed to say that every appears normal and all of baby boys organs are working correctly. So we will have no further review organ-wise, which is great news! The specialist was also (more than!) kind enough to surprise us with a few sneaky peaks at a 4D scan of our baby boy! It was absolutely incredible.

The extensive scan did however highlight that in some views there was a suspicion of Talipes (club foot). But in other views both feet appeared normal. The specialist also noted that the range of movements in all joints is normal. So this basically means that we have to go back to the FMU in about 4 weeks time to have a repeat scan to confirm or exclude the suspicion.

If it is found that one of his feet are a little on the wonky side, there are tons of things that can be done – without the need of surgery. So we’re happy.

Just also curious to find out if you had a baby with a suspected club foot and your experiences? What happened after the birth?

Here are some measurements and findings from the Anomaly scan that you might find useful. We were told these measurements were pretty much spot on for gestation, 21+4 weeks.

Biparietal Diameter (BPD): 52.4 mm

Head Circumference (HC): 189.1 mm

Abdominal Circumference (AC): 168.0 mm

Nuchal Fold Thickness (NT): 5.3 mm

Nasal Bone: 7.3 mm

Femur Length: 34.1 mm

Estimated Fetal Weight (BPD, HC, AC, FL): 416g / 15oz

MM.

 

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CVS: The Fetal Echo (Echocardiogram) at 16 weeks.

Tuesday 14th February: Fetal Heart Echo (Echocardiogram), at UCLH.

Today we went back to the Fetal Medicine Unit in University College London Hospital (UCLH) for a specialist Heart scan. The scan was performed like any other normal ultra-sound scan, but was dedicated to looking closely at the heart; the way the blood flowed, the rate and a close look at the chambers of the heart. The sonographer will use colours on the monitor to look at the blood flow etc – so don’t be alarmed if you see lots of red and blue splats all over the screen! (This looks a bit like a heat map).

Look how much bigger he is! (Image above). All his organs are now well formed and his bones were all clearly visible. He was, again, moving all over! Such a lively little boy we have!

We’re very happy to say that everything looks on course here! The blood is flowing the correct way and he has a smashing heart rate. But we have to go back on 20th March just to have another look, when he’ll be much bigger; he’s still pretty tiny at the minute. But overall, no cause for concern! 😀

MM.

 

 

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CVS: The Full Results.

Thursday 2nd February: The full results came back.

I had anxiously waited all week for that ‘BLOCKED’ number to call me again. It got to 4pm every day and I felt physically sick. I was shaky, dizzy and unable to concentrate at work. I was going to give it until Friday 3rd February at lunchtime, and then I was going to call UCLH to chase up the results. I couldn’t bear another weekend not knowing.

We got home from another tiring day at work, I felt withdrawn and exhausted and drained at the fact I hadn’t had that phone call, again.

There was a few pieces of post on the doormat… including one postmarked ‘London’, the address was handwritten. I just KNEW these were the results. I felt that pang of sickness and dizziness again.

We sat down together on the sofa as I struggled to open the envelope. I quickly glanced over the letter just looking for the words ‘normal’ and ‘positive’ and ‘clear’. The letter was a generic, photocopied letter.

But we saw the words we desperately wanted.

“We are writing to inform you that the results from your CVS demonstrate that your baby has a normal chromosome pattern“.

We were overjoyed! The letter was post-marked as 30th January, so the results took less than the two weeks to actually come back. Shame the hospital couldn’t call me to tell me directly – it would have saved a whole lot of agony. But still, we got the results we hoped for!

The letter also stated that we could call the FMU department to find out the sex of our baby. We we desperate to find out! So I called first thing the next day and they called back to tell me that we were having a LITTLE BABY BOY!! Absolutely ecstatic. We weren’t hoping for a boy or a girl specifically, but were beyond surprised to find out we’re having a boy! My partner is the last male on his families side, so we’ll be carrying his family name on – which is a wonderful bonus! We’re still in shock – but it’s so lovely to be able to bond with him properly now. Our little boy 🙂 Most people don’t get to find out the sex of their baby until the 20 week scan and even then, the scan isn’t 100% accurate! So we felt a little bit smug knowing that we’re having a boy, and that it 100% definitely is a boy! 😀

The next stage was an Echocardiogram (detailed Fetal heart scan) at 16 weeks – scheduled for Tuesday 14th February. Aptly, on Valentines Day.

MM.

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CVS: The Rapid Result.

Wednesday 18th January: The Rapid Result came back.

I was laid on the sofa with the quilt, again, running through every single scenario possible. We were told that we’d get the rapid result back within 3 working days, and that an FMU midwife would call after 5pm. We anticipated that we’d get the phone call on Friday 20th January. My mobile started ringing at around 5pm. The number was ‘BLOCKED’. I knew it had to be them. I sat myself up and prepared myself.

The FMU midwife asked me to confirm my name and date of birth and then said the words we’d only hoped for, the results were NORMAL. That meant that there were no abnormalities with regards to Down Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome or Pateau Syndrome.

I rang my partner first and we both cried. I then rang my parents and close family – then my best friend. We all could breathe a sign of relief and relax, a little bit, until the final report came through…

This was the most agonising 2 week wait of our entire lives.

MM.